Reprinted from the Huffington Post 06/16/09

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A provocative and apparently legal Bridgeport mural depicting police surveillance boxes was painted over Friday by order of Ald. Jim Balcer (11th), NBC Chicago reports.

Artist Gabriel Villa painted an image of three police surveillance boxes adorned with a deer head, a human skull and Christ on the cross on the wall of a neighborhood tavern and liquor store near 31st and Morgan at the request of a local gallery owner.

“I wanted to create something that was urban … something that we see in a lot of marginalized neighborhoods, like the surveillance camera,” Villa told NBC Chicago.

The work was commissioned as part of a local art festival and appeared on private property, on a wall owned by a relative of a festival organizer, Chicago Public Radio reports.

Balcer told Chicago Public Radio that he had the city’s graffiti blasters paint over the mural because the building owner lacked the proper permits and he had received complaints, including from police, about potentially “anti-police” or gang-related imagery.

A spokesman for the city’s buildings department told Chicago Public Radio’s Rob Wildeboer that a permit is not required “for a mural on the side of a private building as long as it’s not an advertisement and as long as the property owner has given their permission.”